Dental Disease in Cats and Dogs

Dental disease is one of the most common problems seen in cats and dogs.

What causes pet dental disease?
The bacterial infection eventually works its way up into the support structures of the teeth, the root starts to rot, and the tooth becomes loose (Periodontitis). Bacteria can enter the blood stream at this stage making your pet very sick.

Preventative Dental Care
To help avoid your pet needing further anaesthetics and expensive dental work in the future, you can try the following ideas for dental health:

Special Diets – There are diets specially designed to encourage good dental health. All Eukanuba foods contain a dental defence system. Royal Canin Dental, Hills canine and feline t/d are biscuits that don’t crumble easily like other biscuits, which helps keep your pets teeth clean and gums healthy. There are also dental and breath chews available that can help. Talk to one of our staff who can recommend a diet for your pet.

Large raw meaty bones – These are your pet’s natural toothbrush. Avoid any bones with sharp spikes such as chops and never feed cooked bones. Large fresh cannon bones are usually best but do not encourage chewing of the solid bone as damage to the large premolars (slab fractures) can result.
Does my pet have dental disease?
Some common signs that your pet may have dental disease include:

  • Bad breath
  • Yellow/brown tartar on teeth
  • Dribbling
  • Difficulty eating
  • Pawing or rubbing the mouth
  • Loose teeth or tooth loss
  • Bleeding gums

Dental Treatment

Tooth brushing – Just as with your own teeth, nothing beats daily brushing. Special pet toothpaste is available that does not contain fluoride or foaming agents, so it is safe to use with your pets.

The first step to help stop or slow down the progression of dental disease is to perform a scale and polish under general anaesthesia. With advanced dental disease, there may be teeth that need to be extracted. Problems usually start with the build-up of plaque on the teeth, which is a soft yellow deposit made up of bacteria, food particles and gum cells. Plaque eventually hardens to form tartar, which if not removed can lead to gingivitis – painful inflammation of the gums.